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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
U.K. MPs Finish Voting on Eight Brexit Options; Theresa May Vows to Resign if MPs Support Her Deal; U.S. Senators Grill FAA Over Boeing 737 Max Safety; Boeing and Aviation Regulators Try to Regain Confidence; Boeing Response to Ethiopian Airlines Crash; EU Council President Tells the U.K. not to Betray the Remainers; Pound Inches Higher on Theresa May's Offer; U.S. Markets Struggle for Gains. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 27, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: The clock in the chamber of the House of Commons, 7:00 p.m. in London. We're seeing the clock in the
Chamber because MPs have now started voting. A warm welcome to London. We're watching the drama in the House of Commons as MPs vote on the eight
Also at the same time, in Washington, D.C., the picture you're seeing in the lower part of the screen, this is where the U.S. lawmakers are
questioning the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration along with the Department of Transportation on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane. That hearing
is beginning now. That is underway. We've heard evidence from that.
Over the course of the next few here hours on CNN, you're going to be enjoying coverage of both. We will of course, though, begin with the
historic procedures in the House of Commons. MPs are now voting. They having wrestled control of the daily order from the Prime Minister Theresa
And the British Prime Minister, Theresa May is fighting back offering to resign. It was at a meeting with members of her own Party just a few hours
ago that the Prime Minister promised she will quit if they support her Brexit deal and let somebody else lead the Party into the next phase of
The deal she wants them to pass is the very same -- the very same one they have soundly rejected twice before. So, having said she'll go if they pass
it, that vote could happen on Friday. Tonight, though, to absolutely confuse matters completely, the way I would suggest we proceed for the next
hour -- now, having told you that Mrs. May is going to resign if her deal gets through, let's put her deal to one side because instead, tonight the
MPs are voting on this.
Eight other Brexit options. They are voting whether to say "yes" or "no" on all of them simultaneously and in secret, which is different than usual.
The vote is so to speak, nonbinding on the government, however, it will give a very strong way on the way forward. Which of a variety of, a
cornucopia, a potpourri, a smorgasbord of options that could be put forward.
Because if any command a majority, in this place, then well, we're off to the races in a different game completely. The results will be in about two
hours from now. I've done my best, Bianca and Carole, I have done my best. Carole, starting with you, to explain what's going on. It was a poor best
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is an extraordinary and unprecedented process going on in the Houses of Parliament and somewhat
overshadowed by that dramatic offer in a meeting with her own MPs from the Prime Minister to step down if her withdrawal deal is passed. But what's
happening here tonight is that MPs have taken control of the Parliamentary timetable, underlining the Prime Minister's loss of authority even before
she offered to go, and they're looking at a whole range of options as you say.
They range from no deal to revoking Article 50 and then several variations on a Customs Union, single market relationship, a much closer relationship
with the European Union after Brexit. And later this evening, we'll know which of those options has got the most support. But that is just the
start of this process.
QUEST: But we won't know -- well, let's get to it later on, let's first of all talk about what Theresa May says. She wants to do the right thing for
country and Party.
Now, she told her back benchers, "I know there is a desire for a new approach and new leadership in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations
and I won't stand in the way of that." Bianca, you were outside the door?
BIANCA NOBILO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I was outside the door. I was stalking the corridors and it was very subdued. The atmosphere of all the MPs going
in was quite sullen. Then used that word actually to describe it to me.
NOBILO: Then, they went into the room, there was a very muted welcome for the Prime Minister, too.
QUEST: Don't they normally -- don't they normally --
NOBILO: Bang loudly on the tables.
QUEST: Bang the tables -- welcome --
NOBILO: So for our international viewers, this is how the Conservative Party in the U.K. expresses their support and excitement about something.
So it was very muted though when she came in.
But the Prime Minister looked happier than she had for some time. She had a spring in her step, so some MPs were texting me saying maybe that because
there's a weight off her shoulders, is she about to offer her resignation? And so what she did was not give an actual timetable, but say, if my deal
passes, I will then make way for another leader of the Conservative Party.
And it seems to have had the desired effect because Brexit bigwig Boris Johnson has announced in the last hour or so that he will support the deal.
One wonders what could possibly have made him do that when the Prime Minister announces there might be an opening for leadership coming up.
QUEST: We'll get onto whether he stands any chance later. But Jacob Rees- Mogg has also been said in an article -- I mean, you've got to hand it to Jacob Rees-Mogg. He did it right. He said, "I'm sorry. I've gone back on
what I've said before. I said I wouldn't go for this deal and I'm going to go for it."
WALKER: He did. But crucially, he qualified that by saying that he would support the Prime Minister's deal, provided the DUP - the Democratic
Unionist Party - were also prepared to drop their opposition. Now, there were a lot of rumors earlier that there was going to be a statement from
the DUP tonight. That could have been absolutely crucial in swinging the votes of not just Jacob Rees-Mogg, but quite a few other Conservatives as
So far, that statement does not appear to materialize. It now seems less likely it is going to happen, so it is far from clear whether even this
move tonight and Boris Johnson's decision are in themselves enough for her to win her deal.
QUEST: We need to just invite you to join the conversation. Phones and devices as usual, cnn.com/join. Did Theresa May hang on to power for too
long? We're really -- this is cutting, isn't it? I mean, she hasn't gone yet and we're already -- but never mind, did she stay for too long? Yes,
she did. No, she didn't. We'll update you on the results throughout the course of this evening as things go on.
So, we need to understand what are the British lawmakers voting on tonight? There are eight options on the table. You have a no deal exit on April the
12th, a second referendum, no Brexit at all. There's also a variety of strange ones around after an EEA membership with single market
participation and a comprehensive custom's arrangement.
They're all the same thing, but without the Customs Union. And then you have a commitment to a permanent and comprehensive U.K. wide Customs Union.
Let's not worry too much about it. But the opposition Labour Party has tabled a plan that includes Customs Union -- there they are -- we've been
waiting for this to come along.
There they are -- with a close alignment with the single market and access to various agencies. The last option you can see on the screen, which
require the government to seek preferential trade relationships in a case of a no deal Brexit.
Now, let's keep those on the screen for the second because just very quickly each of you, Carole and Bianca, of those, which is the most likely
to be the most popular tonight, briefly Carole?
WALKER: I suspect the one around a Customs Union, particularly because it's not Labour's plan, so some Conservatives who want to close their
relationship may be prepared to go for it.
Others may also be prepared to go for the after EEA, which some have called common market two. Well, it has to be said that a lot of Brexiteers will
be strongly opposed to both of those options because they feel that it would tie the country's hands far too closely to the E.U. after Brexit.
NOBILO: And one of the chief reasons why the Brexiteers want Theresa May gone is because they want a leader in place for the next phase who they
believe will argue for a more distant relationship with the E.U. to give the U.K. more leverage, an ability to trade globally.
QUEST: We shall carry on while we wait for this. The 1922 is a powerful committee made up of Conservative back benchers. Members of Parliament who
don't hold a front bench government position.
It meets weekly when Parliament is sitting and the Committee keeps the government informed of back bench opinions and concerns. It also handles
leadership challenges which can be triggered when 50% of sitting Conservative MPs write to their Chairman.
So as we move onto look at what's next. The issue of the European response as set up by the Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission
who says it's anyone's guess what the U.K. wants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION (Through a translator): And I was saying to some of you, that if I were to compare Great Britain to
a sphinx. The sphynx would be an open book by comparison and let's see how that book speaks over the next week or so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Anders Borg served as Sweden's Finance Minister from 2006 to 2014. He's now senior advisor to IPsoft. He joins me now from New York. Good to
see you Anders, as always. We all know it's a mess, but I wonder whether Europe has actually -- she hasn't got out of its way to help Theresa May,
bearing in mind the one thing she needed was the backstop gone.
ANDERS BORG, SENIOR ADVISOR, IPSOFT: Well, I think this is a mess. And it's very difficult to understand where it will end. I think what is very
clear is this is bad for the U.K. and it's bad for Europe and at this juncture of time, when we are seeing growth slowing, this increased
uncertainty is definitely not good for Europe as a whole.
But I mean, obviously Europe should have been more helpful to the U.K. I mean, from a Swedish and Nordic point of view, U.K. has been a core partner
for us. So from our perspective, this is kind of a very sad ending of the relationship.
QUEST: Do you think that they should have allowed a discussion on the future relationship at the same time as they were discussing the divorce,
if you like, the withdrawal part, because it seems to be that everything -- the problems have come not about with the money or the divorce, but how
they're going to live together in the future.
BORG: Well, I mean, it's pretty clear that the British position has not been straight and they've not been able to articulate what type of
relationship they want in the longer run. From a European perspective, I think it should be as close as possible.
The less trade restrictions, the less barriers we have, the better it is for Europe and the better it is for the U.K., but obviously that would
imply some sort of Norwegian or Swiss solution and that in turn would severely limit the national independence and the political independence
that the U.K. would have. So that's kind of a bad or a difficult option for the U.K. to accept.
QUEST: And in terms of the way in which Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk have handled this, they seem to have suggested that they've run out of
BORG: Well, I think the U.K. has not been able to really move the process forward. And it's been pretty clear that they have been very divided.
I think that Juncker and Barnier and the others, also Tusk, could have done more and more clearly stated that a free trade relationship with as few
barriers as possible is the goal of Europe. But it's pretty clear that Europe is becoming less open and less free-trade oriented with the Brits
leaving and that also obviously have implications for the process.
QUEST: On that point, the U.K., do you think that the E.U. would be minded to grant some long extension after -- if they can't do a deal before April
the 12th, some long extension that would allow for pretty much an entire renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement?
BORG: I mean, from an economic point of view, Bank of England have made it clear that if this process is predictable and not disruptive, the economic
impact will be much lower.
So a disruptive, unprepared exit will be very costly also for Europe. So obviously, that would be the rational solution to take a long period to do
a thorough negotiation and a transition over to a free trade arrangement.
There is very little in this process that has been rational so far.
QUEST: On the question of lessons learned by the E.U., immigration still remains an issue. There is no common agreement on that. You still have
the likes of Hungary and Poland wanting to go their own way. Donald Tusk warned about all of this. Do you think the union has learned the lessons
BORG: I think it's pretty clear that Europe should have accommodated the Brits on this issue much earlier. The introduction of the Schengen rules I
think is a big part of U.K. leaving.
So I think Europe should have been more accommodating to U.K. in this point and a lot of what the Brits have been arguing for is now of the agenda and
clearly, a part of the process going forward. I mean, that's too late to change the position of the U.K.
QUEST: But if we take your own country, for example, immigration still remains an extremely sensitive, controversial issue that has cost it
BORG: Yes, yes, it's the most difficult issue that we have in politics in Sweden. And we've seen a rise of a right wing party that is basically
thriving on the frustration that people fear and the fears that people have. And I think we will be under pressure from North Africa and the
Middle East for decades to come. So this will be a big issue for Europe, unfortunately.
QUEST: Anders Borg. Anders, good to see you. I'm afraid I will never be able to keep out of my mind the thought of you being voted the best Finance
Minister in Europe when you were there. It will always be a name that will go with you when I think of you and see you. Good to see you, though, sir,
BORG: Good to see you. Thank you very much.
QUEST: The E.U. wants the U.K. to stay in the union. Boston in Lincolnshire this time, where people voted to leave the E.U. Anna Stewart
is there. Anna, the situation in Boston where you are, they wanted to leave. Have they changed their minds?
ANNA STEWART, REPORTER, CNN: Overwhelmingly no, Richard. Now, over 75% of people voted to leave and we spent all day speaking to them. Not one of
the leavers I spoke to have changed their mind.
Interestingly, when we presented them with all the various Brexit options including the ones being voted on tonight, the ones they picked time and
time again were no deal Brexit and as soon as possible with all the risks that come with it or reluctantly, the Prime Minister's deal because they
say at least that does deliver Brexit.
Richard, those are the two options that are not on the ballot paper tonight partly because we know from previous votes that they don't have support of
Parliament, but it does make you question whether lawmakers in Westminster have lost contact and it lost touch with some of the people who voted for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it is going to make any difference whatsoever really. I think we need to get out and that's it really. Put a
no deal. But with her deal, no.
STEWART: And her stepping down doesn't really --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't think so, no. I think she should remain and we should go for it and go for a no deal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel sorry in one respect and angry in another because she ain't doing the job what we voted for.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we're in such a mess and whether she has put us there or whether the situation has put us there, I don't know. I think
hindsight, it will be a wonderful thing when it happens. But at the moment, I haven't a clue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Richard, you heard there actually reaction to the news that the Prime Minister will step down, once she has delivered Brexit. At the end
there, you hear this woman questioning how history will look back on this. Well, currently, in the present, in Boston, they are taking a very dim view
QUEST: Anna, thank you. Anna is in -- you're in Boston, it's a wonderful part of the country. Actually, while you're with me, Anna, if we just look
and see how the vote went, the vote -- the cnn.com/join vote. The question was about whether Theresa May had waited too long, should she have gone
sooner, and the answer is clearly, well, by the votes, two thirds to one -- 63% said she hung on for too long. But Anna, are you surprised that nearly
40% said no?
STEWART: You know what, given that I'm here, I'm actually not that surprised. I burst out of where we are right now with the breaking news
that the Prime Minister is now going to step down once she has delivered Brexit expecting people to be shocked or happy or some sort of big
You know what, all I got was a sigh and an eye roll. People here don't think it will make any difference. They don't frankly care. Their issue
isn't just with the Prime Minister but with the government and the whole of Parliament that is behind you because they don't think these MPs are
listening to them. They don't feel like they are getting the vote that they asked for. They are not getting Brexit. It's not being delivered in
their eyes -- Richard.
QUEST: Anna, we go from Boston in England to Brussels with Erin McLaughlin. Anna, thank you. Erin, same question to you, how will they
respond in Brussels now that Theresa May has basically said the price I'm paying for getting my deal through is I will go, I will resign so somebody
else will do the next stage of negotiation?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Richard, I don't think we're going to see any reaction tonight from the European Council or the European
MCLAUGHLIN: Keep in mind, it is at this point a hypothetical resignation contingent upon an eventuality that no one here sees a being really all
that possible at this point, which is the deal getting across the line in Westminster. They're very much watching everything with concern unfold
over there on the other side of the English Channel.
The general mood here towards Theresa May in terms of the relationship between the E.U. and Prime Minister May is that that relationship has been
degrading. I've spoken to multiple diplomats who tell me that believe the point in which things really sort of went downhill between the U.K.
government and the E.U. was that December Summit, when Prime Minister May turned on the very deal that she negotiated, the deal that now she is
saying she wants to get across the line so bad that she'd be willing to resign for that possibility.
But again, in terms of that official reaction, given that it's a hypothetical resignation, I don't think we'll be hearing much from Brussels
QUEST: All right, but on what's happening in the House of Commons behind me, now let's face it, Erin, leaders in Brussels have always said we want
to know what London wants. What is it that London wants?
Well, tonight they're going to find out, or at least the process starts of that.
MCLAUGHLIN: Will they find out, though, Richard? There are some doubts here as well in terms of conversations I've been having that any sort of
consensus will emerge from tonight's vote. I was speaking to one diplomat and he was citing sort of his own internal analysis. He said that he
believes the Customs Union option has the best chance of garnering a consensus there in the United Kingdom.
Should the U.K. put forward that, he said it's something that the E.U. would be open to within the context of the political declaration. But the
facts and terms of that withdrawal agreement and that withdrawal agreement needing to get across the line, that stays.
QUEST: Erin, thank you. Our vote at cnn.com/join, 63% of those you voting said that Theresa May did hang on for power for too long. Good opportunity
in a moment for us to take a break. A big day for Brexit and a big day for Boeing.
The plane maker is overhauling its 737 MAX airplane to restore confidence after two fatal crashes. We'll talk about that after the break.
QUEST: Boeing is overhauling the software system for its 737 MAX aircraft. It's one of a raft of new measures designed to restore confidence of
investors and the public after a series of fatal crashes.
Boeing isn't the only one whose reputation was dented by the crisis. Right now on Capitol Hill, U.S. senators are grilling aviation regulators about
how thoroughly they vetted the plane's automated flight control systems.
Meanwhile in Washington State, Boeing is showing off some software and the training upgrades as the company's most direct attempt to fix the plane's
original design, the faulty bits, which investigators think may have led to the recent crashes.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is in Seattle at the Boeing delivery center. He joins me now. What is interesting about this is I have -- I've read the
changes and they are -- I mean, what this basically tells us is that the system worked as it was meant to. That nothing went wrong here, the system
worked as it was meant to, it's just that it was badly designed.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER, CNN: Well, right, and so that's why what we're seeing they're enhancing the training. I think
there's a lot of perhaps thinking on some folk's part that people were not being properly trained or they weren't looking at the material as closely
as they should have.
They just perhaps -- maybe some of these pilots didn't understand the system as well as maybe they initially thought. It's very unclear. But
the idea that they're doing this, obviously, is important for Boeing. They're trying to restore the confidence in fliers, both in the U.S. and
across the world where all these planes are now grounded.
The software enhancements, obviously, are going to hopefully do that and they're -- go ahead, Richard.
QUEST: Well, I just wanted to pick up on that point that you said because this is extremely unusual. I've covered more than my fair share of airline
incidents. I can't remember Boeing doing a show, inviting people to the factory and exposing themselves in the way as they are to yourself.
PROKUPECZ: That's actually a really good point you make, Richard, because this is not something, our understanding that Boeing really wanted to do.
But the airlines wanted it. They wanted this because their whole thing is they are trying to get these planes back in the air. They know when these
planes do get back in the air, they're going to have to restore some confidence with fliers, that they're going to be okay, that they are going
to be safe to get into these planes.
And that's what we saw here. Boeing really trying to show us the difference that they're trying to make, the changes that they're trying to
make in the software upgrade and also the enhanced training where they're going to hopefully -- their hope is to have pilots could better understand
how the systems on this plane work.
QUEST: Shimon, we'll talk more. We have more on this Boeing story and the developments later. Thank you out in the Pacific Northwest.
As we continue, the Brexit vote wraps up. We're starting to get sight of the first ballot papers and how MPs -- one MP has tweeted her ballot paper
to show there's no secrecy there. The result though isn't expected for a good hour and a half from now. We'll have more. This is "Quest Means
Business" live from Westminster.
[15:30:00] RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Hang on, hang on. Welcome back to our coverage of Brexit. It's lively night tonight. The
chamber is now back up and running after MPs were voting. They have finished voting on the eight options. It's a non-binding indicative vote.
The results will be in roughly one and a half hours from now.
What they're now discussing is changing the dates, and these are procedural issues. The important thing tonight is that Theresa May has offered to
resign to get her deal through parliament. David Morris is the conservative MP for Morecambe, and Quentin Peel is the associate fellow at
Chatham House, Europe. Good to have you both.
Quentin, I'm going to start with my friend here if I may, just to find out how you voted --
DAVID MORRIS, CONSERVATIVE MP: Sorry, I'm sorry to cut you short.
QUEST: Please --
MORRIS: I mean, I voted against all the amendments --
MORRIS: Every one of them. Because it's just procrastinating theater, it's not binding, it's just delaying the Brexit process.
QUEST: But this will become important if the Prime Minister can't get her deal through.
MORRIS: The problem that we've got is mountain time, the speaker is acting in an extraordinary manner, is certainly very close to the constitutional
wind and if anyone has to go, it's the speaker.
QUEST: Yes, but he's not going to, so let's not worry -- Quentin, what do you make of the theater that David speaks.
QUENTIN PEEL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: Well, it's exactly the point you made. This matters if Theresa May doesn't get her deal through.
If she doesn't get her deal through, she's got to find some other way of going back to the European Union with an answer that they've given her to
come before April the 12th.
QUEST: Isn't the problem with all the things that are on the ballot paper today, is that they are all the sort of issues that the EU will only
discuss after withdrawal, Customs Union, EEA, all these other things. It's fine to talk -- it's fine to vote on them, but you've got to get out
of the union first.
PEEL: Well, it can all go into the political declaration which is, you know is not binding. So, they could amend the political declaration and
say, all right, we'll aim to go for Norway plus the Customs Union --
QUEST: Right --
PEEL: So whatever it might be.
QUEST: So they do all of that and they still had to pass Mrs. May's deal to get out of the union.
PEEL: Yes, absolutely. And so the key question is, can they do that or will we end up on another cliff edge?
QUEST: So tonight, in the 1922, what was the mood?
MORRIS: The mood was -- it was quite sad, to be truthful. I was the last one to speak in the 22. I thank the Prime Minister for all of her hard
work. And you know, to give you a little bit of -- I can remember when I was a young MP, she did say to me that do as much television as you can,
here I am on television.
But people won't remember what you've said -- you'll say in your career, now they do. And I want to be there to say I was there when May passed the
QUEST: Is it enough, Jacob Rees-Mogg has done his vote fast, the DUP are thinking of abstaining, can she get it through, and is there any indication
that others from will join in from the other side of the house?
[15:35:00] MORRIS: I think she can get it through on this occasion. The feeling is, except for the real hard-liners, I think she can get it
through, just bring the DUP on side, that is a key question.
PEEL: Absolutely, and I think the DUP, maybe they're up for sale. After all, they rolled over for a billion pounds before. But having said that,
they've taken a very hard stand that this backstop cannot be acceptable.
QUEST: But does the DUP actually want Brexit? Do they want to leave the European Union because if they do, this might be the price of holding your
nose and jumping. The other thing, of course, Quentin, is the Prime Minister, her decision to go, what do you make of it?
PEEL: Well, I think that's -- it's absolutely the strategy she's had all along to keep her party together. That's -- she's not changing the
substance of anything to stretch -- to reach across the gang way. This is about getting a united or relatively a united Conservative Party to get the
deal through. The truth is the Conservative Party is desperately split, and I fear that won't go away whether she's there or not.
QUEST: Sure, you know, let's just develop that point. This is not new to your party. Shall we enumerate the leaders who have fallen on the anvil of
MORRIS: Europe, yes --
QUEST: Every single one, up to -- that if, who brought them in the first place.
MORRIS: Yes, Europe has always been, shall we say the yoke of the conservative --
QUEST: The killer!
MORRIS: The killer of the conservative, you know, of shall we say the divisive part of the Conservative Party always has been and up until this
point where we've seen, becoming right to the head of this. And it is a fact. We're only being stopped by, you know, some very hard line
Brexiteers from this occurring.
Believe me, I was in that meeting tonight and it was a good feeling that we're going to get this deal through.
QUEST: All right, let's talk about that. Our Brexitometer which we've been using is a variety of options of the way things are looking. Tonight
as we stand, would you say we are closer to a deal, a no-deal Brexit, a second referendum, what would you say we are looking most likely at
MORRIS: Provided we can get the DUP on side, I think we're going to get a deal through.
PEEL: Yes, I think she's inched closer to a deal, but by God, the numbers are tight, and she's got to get a significant number of labor people across
if they think that actually this will keep her in power rather than bring a general election closer, I think she's going to be very lucky to get many
labor voters over.
QUEST: And she's still -- whatever happens, you still have to get a withdrawal through. Good to see you, sir --
MORRIS: Good seeing you too --
QUEST: Thank you, thank you very much. The Prime Minister was right --
PEEL: Yes --
QUEST: Very worthwhile staying on television, in fact, it's so worthwhile we'll see you after the -- later -- don't go too far, nice to see you, man
MORRIS: Nice seeing you.
QUEST: Now, we're keeping an eye on Capitol Hill where the U.S. senators are questioning the acting head of the FAA over its safety checks for the
Boeing 737 Max. The Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said it was very questionable that safety systems were not part of the standard package
offer by Boeing on its jets.
Boeing announced it's overhauling a software for the 737 aircraft. Justin Green is an aviation attorney and former president of the International Air
and Transportation Safety Association -- CNN and aviation -- joins me now. Justin, good to see you, we've spoken before on these things. But the
reality is, this is extraordinary.
What's clear by the changes made and by the training required, Boeing got this wrong.
JUSTIN GREEN, AVIATION ATTORNEY & FORMER PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL AIR AND TRANSPORTATION SAFETY ASSOCIATION: I think you're absolutely right. And
what people are finding out is what people like I have known for a long time, is that there really is a delegation from the FAA to the industry in
certifying its airplanes.
And I think if any good is going to come out of this, it's going to be the FAA may be taking a step back, re-asserting some of its independence and
maybe improving safety going forward.
QUEST: But Justin, the reality is, I mean, as Elaine Chao said, there have been delegated testers or delegated certifiers for -- since the 1920s.
It's not new for the FAA or the regulator to delegate some of that authority.
GREEN: It is -- you know, she's absolutely right, and one of the things that everyone has to understand is that Boeing designs airplanes and
probably does a better job than any other company in the history of aviation. The FAA is the regulator, the entity that's supposed to certify
It's going to have to rely on the F -- on Boeing in the same way that after an accident, the NTSB which investigates accidents will have parties from
the manufacturer, parties from the airline to assist in its investigation.
[15:40:00] But the lines can get blurred, especially when the FAA employs its top officers, people that are coming from the industry, and then
turning around and regulating the industry.
QUEST: On this question, I mean, you obviously represent in terms -- I mean, there's -- if this was in Asia, there would have been the scene by
now probably of the chief executive or the chairman coming before the world's press and doing a deep bow of apology. So far we've heard how
regretful they are at Boeing, but they've never said simply sorry.
GREEN: Well, you raise an interesting cultural aspect, you know, in cases where Japanese Airlines have lost the CEO, well, common, apologized to the
families. You know, unfortunately, people like me who represent families and sue, we have litigation kind of aspect in the U.S. where the company is
being advised by its lawyers and by its insurer not to make public mea culpa like that.
But what I'm really more disappointed about is the statements from the FAA kind of doubling down on their initial certification of the airplane, and
doubling down on their decision not to act faster after the Lion Air disaster and not to act faster in the couple of days after the Ethiopian
I think that -- I think that the FAA really has to allow a full and robust investigation before it asserts that mistakes were not made. I think
mistakes in fact were made certainly by Boeing and likely by the FAA.
QUEST: Good to see you, Justin, Justin, thank you.
GREEN: Thank you.
QUEST: Boeing says it's trying to address from passengers and airlines. In a statement, the company's CEO says he stands with Ethiopian Airlines
and all carriers who buy Boeing's planes. Dennis Muilenburg and the quote is, "we are bringing all of the resources of the Boeing company to bear,
working tirelessly to understand what happened, and do everything possible to ensure it doesn't happen again."
Now, to the latest on the hearings, CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin is in Washington. What are we -- what are we --
what is -- what are we hearing from them because fundamentally, they have to answer how did a plane, two planes that they certified that there are
now training changes and software updates, they have to answer how that happened.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: But Richard, even though there are training changes and upgrades of software, which Boeing
has introduced, Boeing is still insisting we don't know what happened to these planes, and therefore all this talk about what went wrong is really
Now, on Capitol Hill, what this has exposed is exactly what you were just talking about with your guest. In the United States, the FAA has such
limited resources that it has basically outsourced its certification process to the companies, to the airlines, to the manufacturers.
And in this case, it is Boeing hiring Boeing workers to inspect and certify Boeing products. That's getting a lot of attention up on Capitol Hill even
though it's been going on for decades where there's a lot of eyeballs being opened up and that's being questioned whether or not this relationship
between Boeing and the FAA was so cozy that somewhere along the line, it allowed something to slip.
QUEST: And related to that, what Justin Green was saying a moment ago, this idea that the FAA did not ground the planes despite the fact other
very reputable regulators, the British, the Australian, the Canadians in the end, the Chinese, had all -- the Singaporeans, had all grounded it.
But they stubbornly refused to.
GRIFFIN: And I'll tell you what they will not tell you in public. There is a lot of scuttle that what happened in Indonesia and in Ethiopia is
pilot-based. That the feeling in the U.S. that I'm getting from both pilot and some others is that well-trained pilots could have handled this problem
even if it turns out that the MCAS system, the system we're talking about is the problem.
And I think the FAA was looking at --
QUEST: Right --
GRIFFIN: What is going on with U.S. carriers, do we have any problems with U.S. carriers? We're not seeing any data with problems in MCAS with U.S.
carriers. So until we know exactly what caused this plane to crash, why should we ground it? In hindsight, that was probably a poor public
relations move, but the FAA says it makes these decisions based --
[15:45:00] QUEST: True --
GRIFFIN: On data and only when --
QUEST: Drew, let me --
GRIFFIN: They got the data.
QUEST: Drew, on this point about whether or not other countries are trained well enough -- let's just briefly talk about that because Airbus
has always had the view that you build your planes for, if you like, everybody, and that there are parts of the world and I'm not implicating
Ethiopia Airlines in this. But there are parts of the world where pilot training is not as good.
GRIFFIN: Certainly not as extensive, not as many hours in flight before you become a commercial pilot. And there's also a question, Richard, which
I think you could probably answer based on your experience. There is a culture in other parts of the country -- in other parts of the world where
the captain --
QUEST: Right --
GRIFFIN: Is the captain and the co-pilot remains silent. Other flight officers don't question things. Less of a team effort than what is
traditional in let's say a U.S.-based cockpit. Did this have anything to do with the issues? So there are other questions being raised here, but it
doesn't get away from the fact that Boeing released this, redesigned plane with minimal training requirements for re-training of 737 pilots.
And also, remember, Richard, without telling --
QUEST: Right --
GRIFFIN: Without telling the pilots what this MCAS system was. Again, we go back to our reporting that pilots on both of these planes were fighting
with a system that they had no idea was on board.
QUEST: Drew, thank you, keep watching the hearings, come back to us when there's more to report. As we continue, the head of the European Council
has a warning for the U.K., don't betray the remainers. We'll be at a remains stronghold after the break.
Meanwhile, the voting is over, and I think we're about an hour away, an hour and 15 or so from hearing how MPs with their indicative votes have
QUEST: Donald Tusk; the president of the European Council says the EU can't turn its back on remainers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:50:00] DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: You cannot betray the 6 million people who signed the petition to revoke Article 50. The 1
million people who marched for a people's vote or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: We mentioned that petition to revoke Article 50 before now has 5.8 million signatures. The U.K. government will debate it when it has a
simple answer -- now, Nina dos Santos, she is in Kingston upon Thames outside London which voted overwhelmingly to remain. Nina?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They did, Richard, 61 percent of people here three years ago voted to stay inside the EU. A lot of them
saying that they're becoming increasingly exhausted with the torturous negotiations to try and deliver Brexit. Some of them actually even
changing their minds and saying, well, let's just leave and get on with it so that we can focus on other things like that a British government should
be focusing on.
Like knife crime, like child poverty, and so on and so forth. Here's a snippet of the sound bites we got throughout the course of the day from the
good people of Kingston, Richard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we just need to get out of the European Union now and make a go at getting the country back on its feet because there's
so much dispute going on and political unrest. And I think that's the next thing that I think the U.K. needs to do is fix their political stance
of everything and the political whole demeanor of everything as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Revoke Article 50, definitely.
DOS SANTOS: Let me mark that for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, go for it, ma'am.
DOS SANTOS: Won't do that --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or that one.
DOS SANTOS: Or that one, second referendum --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Either one is good, scrap it.
DOS SANTOS: Why would you do that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just it's not going well, is it? It's not going well.
DOS SANTOS: Brexit, how do you think it's going?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, not very well, but I expect the best thing we can hope for is that Mrs. May gets a deal through, steps down and then they
start negotiating the trade deal with the EU.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: Now, Richard, the local member of parliament Ed Davie(ph)who is a liberal Democrat was one of those MPs who backed all of the left-wings
amendment, allowing parliament to get a greater control of the whole procedure and to indicate where to go from here.
You just heard about three of the numerous people I was interviewing throughout the course of the day put forward various options that they'd
like to see. You also heard some exhaustion there. Interesting to note that when it comes to the Customs Union and single market, nobody raised
that or did get one person raising the issue of a free trade agreement with Canada.
They were previously a lever, they did say that they had sympathy for Theresa May, and now that she has offered to resign after delivering
Brexit, so she says, to this influential committee of backed benchers, they say, well, look, cut her some slack, she's tried her best to navigate a
torturous path with very different competing interests even inside her own party. Richard?
QUEST: All right. So if they are -- they wanted to stay and the Prime Minister's deal is coming back which -- what do they want to happen there
between the Prime Minister's deal and everything else, what do they want?
DOS SANTOS: Yes, this is -- this is where things get really murky. So obviously, between all of those options that are on the table there, for
the remainers, revoking Article 50, they say that, yes, that would be the second best preference, but they'd rather see a referendum because that
will be more Democratic referendum, potentially voting on a version of Theresa May's deal so you're not voting over the same thing yet again, and
let's say giving people a second vote on what they voted on when the people spoke three years ago.
That's one snippet. What you get to hear from the remainers here, but there are a fair few amount of levers, many of them pensioners, Richard,
who just say that their attitude --
QUEST: Right --
DOS SANTOS: Moved Brussels have become hardened because of the negotiating procedures and a tougher message you've just heard there from Donald Tusk
of the European Council, Richard.
QUEST: Nina, thank you, in Kingston upon Thames, not that far from where I am. We will look at the markets and the pound after this.
[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: So, while we wait to hear the results of the vote in parliament, it is worth as looking at the pound. Let's start with the pound which inched
higher on Wednesday after the Prime Minister, Theresa May, offered to fall on her sword and resign.
The pound at 1.3249 is now at a third of a percent, it's steady which is remarkable bearing in mind the shenanigans that are going on. And with
Wall Street about to finish trading just in three or four minutes from now, take a look at the Dow. And you have a Dow Jones where the global growth -
- but again, and it's almost a repeat of last night, where you saw losses during the day, rallying back up again.
I will -- down 36. So it's unlikely to be positive at the close, but you never know, still got a few moment or two to go. And as here, we're
standing by for the results of the indicative votes here at Westminster. Stay with me, I will be back, it's a special extended edition, we're
extending in all directions -- QUEST MEANS BUSINESS after the break.